DEFINING THE VALUE OF ACCREDITED SPECIALISTS IN OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE WORKING IN THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE AND EXPLORING FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENHANCING THE PROVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES IN ENGLAND
V. Parsons1, S. Pattani2, A. Gilbey3, I. Madan1, C. Harling4, R. Muiry1, A. De Bono5
1Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, UK
2London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, UK
3NHS Health at Work Network, UK
4University of Southampton, UK
5University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK
A commissioned project to define the value of in-house accredited specialists working in the National Health Service (NHS), and exploring opportunities to optimise their future role.
We explored two interdependent domains. Domain 1 explored the development and use of core attributes of accredited specialists before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Domain 2 explored how these specialist attributes can be further harnessed and deployed to enhance occupational health (OH) provision in the future.
OH survey was completed by 65/128 (51%) respondents. Nine accredited specialists and sixteen stakeholders were interviewed. The majority of accredited specialists work in acute NHS trusts and also deliver contracted services externally. We identified a diversity in OH staffing composition and OH services offered, with the Covid pandemic culminating in an expansion of OH services to meet rising demand. Most respondents perceived there was greater appreciation and recognition by others of the contribution of accredited specialists during the pandemic e.g. developing Covid-19 risk assessments, antibody testing pathways, and staff vaccination programme. We identified two overarching themes ‘Professional credibility has currency’ (Theme 1) and ‘A visionary future: harnessing opportunities to revolutionise NHS OH services’ (Theme 2), with corresponding sub-themes.
In-house accredited specialists working in the NHS possess a diverse range of clinical and non-clinical attributes, and are skilful at delivering strong and influential trust-wide leadership, and the Covid pandemic created opportunities for them to showcase their specialist skills. Respondents described an ambitious vision for the future of OH services across the NHS.